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I’m going on an adventure today! Yes, an adventure, a quest if you will. A journey towards the barren rivers of the Metro, traversing four cities and transcending all physical limitations. Can I do it? Can I take the heat? Watch this post and find out!

Haha. That was so AmazingRace-ish. In any case, I’d be going on a joyride aboard the Pasig River Ferry for my Photojournalism class. We were required to take pictures of the Environment, specifically of the Water element, and consolidate it all into a stunning photo essay.

Hmmm… anybody have an idea how much the fare for the Pasig River Ferry costs? I’m planning to start my journey in Hulo (my hometown) and end up in Quiapo then head back. Whew. Let’s just hope I won’t run into any trouble, and that the fare be darn cheap for chrissakes!

I’ll update this post later when I’ve gotten all the pics I need. See yahz later!

(UPDATE) So I just got home from my joyride and I gotta say, it’s been very tiring, both physically and emotionally (don’t ask, I’ll tell… later)

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Our little sojourn to Old Manila begins at the Hulo Station of the Pasig River Ferry Lines (or something like that). It’s conveniently located at Coronado cor. E. Pantaleon St., near the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned.

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I ask the security guard how much it costs for a boat ride to Quiapo. “Escolta? 35 pesos po, sir,” he says. I thought that was pretty cheap, for a trip to Quiapo minus the hassle of getting stuck for hours in traffic. I quickly went to the ticket booth to buy my ticket.

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Destination: Old Manila

The ferry station was cozy, with air-conditioning, a functioning bathroom and a waiting area for passengers. The staff was friendly and courteous as well, very eager to assist the passengers. I was surprised when they asked what my name was, only to find out it was protocol because they needed to log the names of the people who ride the ferry.

A few minutes later and the ferry boat arrived. We headed down the boarding platform and awaited the moment we finally get to ride the ferry boat. At this point I asked the station manager if I can stay by the dock (is that what the front part of the ferry’s called?) and take pictures. He told me to ask the crew, but he said they’d permit me naman. He was very friendly, but warned me that it’s forbidden to take pictures of Malacañang (more on this later).

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When I entered the ferry boat, memories of a year ago came flashing back in my mind. It was Bohol all over again, and God I missed that moment when I went out of Luzon for the first time ever.

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Loboc River, Bohol, taken almost a year ago

Minutes later I saw people rushing to go outside, and so I followed. When I reached the dock, the somewhat-foul smell of Pasig River and a swift gust of wind welcomed me. Aaaaahhh, I’m home. I spent my elementary days in Coronado St., Hulo, where I get to say hello to Pasig River almost everyday, so the smell isn’t so unusual for me because I literally breathe that kind of air everyday.

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The ferry was moving quite fast. Minutes later, we’re already in Lambingan Station (in Sta. Ana). By this time I’ve already managed to grab dozens of pictures. The view was spectacular, and if not for the fact that Pasig River water is dirty with garbage filth, it would’ve been a pleasant experience to have water sprinkled to your face while you cruise along the river. It wasn’t a nice feeling, trust me.

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This is what a haggard sem looks like. Harhar!

Have I mentioned the view was spectacular? Yeah. It was a treat to cruise along the different parts of Manila I haven’t really been to. When we got close to Malacañang, we were ordered to go inside, without reason given. Is the great palace dwarf paranoid much?

Therefore I wasn’t able to take pictures of that overrated palace (even if I really wanted to). That was only the third time I get to see Malacañang, and on the first time I saw it when I was a very young child I fondly remember it being on the left part of the Pasig River instead of the right. Oh yeah, I guess I don’t have a great geographical memory after all.

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Bambang Station Now Open!!! Don’t ask me where Bambang is because I absolutely have no idea.

Around 40 minutes after and a lot of pictures in my memory card (not to mention an empty battery), we arrive at our final destination: Escolta!

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When I got off the station, a problem I have not foreseen greeted me with a wide grin on its ugly, ugly face: Where do I go next? Without much thinking I started to stroll around downtown Manila and went where my mind and heart took me.

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This is what I love about Manila. It’s very picturesque because of all the old buildings and structures that abound.

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Only in Manila: Calezas! There used to be Calezas in Mandaluyong when I was a child. In fact, one of our neighbors was a caleza driver.

I started walking around the area and found out I was in Binondo. I crossed the bridge and quickly recognized the place, so I went to all the familiar places I found.

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Welcome to… Singapore!!! I mean, Binondo!!!

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Honestly, these guys should go take a Spelling Course at LaSalle to improve their spelling skills. (This is called sarcasm, people, so don’t go all Desperate Housewives on me!!)

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Little girls playing by the fountain in front of the Post Office Building. See that little girl standing at the back? She rushed when she saw me taking pictures of her friend and…

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…posed in front of the camera, stealing the spotlight off her friend there. [sarcasm] Oh how I love kids! [/sarcasm]

Without any particular destination in mind, I walked and walked and walked. It felt good to be walking again. I’m a natural born walker and I really enjoy long walks. While walking along Manila I received a Twitter update with a Tip that says Go for a long walk! How timely!

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This building’s called the Metropolitan Theater. Too bad I was too late. Wonder what they staged here? Movies? Plays? Cockfights?

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Guys, help me out with this one. I know my geography and history teacher will spank me in the arse, but I don’t know if this is Dambana ng Kagitingan or the Monumento. Uhh, help?

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Martial Law Memorial Wall

Several minutes of walking and gallons and gallons of sweat after, I ended up at SM City Manila to grab a small bite, because I was hungry! I missed a little bit of civilization, so sue me.

I wasn’t aware of the time and when I looked at my watch, it was 5pm already! I didn’t know the time of the last trip of the ferry boat so I hurriedly went back to Escolta Station and thank God it’s still open. This very beautiful sunset view at the bridge near the station waved me goodbye:

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The trip back home was long and tiring. I didn’t go out the dock and instead stayed at the air-conditioned passenger area, by the window. The view of the river evoked very deep emotions in me, so I started emo-ing, with 80s songs playing in the background. Very emo, I gotta say. I really missed Bohol at that time.

All in all, it was a very fantastic experience! I’ve longed to do something like this since before. I wanted to go on a spontaneous trip anywhere and take pictures. And now, that dream has come true! I’ve never explored Manila before, and this was the first time I went alone so it was a very renewing experience for me.

Try it as well! The fare is relatively cheap but the waiting time in the stations is kinda off, so time your trips according to the schedule posted outside the station. Maximum fare is 45pesos while they charge a 25peso flat rate during weekends. A fun experience for your whole family, I gotta say!


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